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Two months after marriage, my husband resigned from his job. He didn’t tell me about it or planned with me about quitting his job. We woke up one morning and while I was getting ready for work, he was still in bed. I asked him, “Honey, ain’t you going to work.” He answered, “No.” I asked, “Is something the problem?” He said, “I quit. I’m not going to that place again. My feet are already on something new so don’t worry.” I was so shocked but I didn’t have enough time to talk about it because I was on my way to work.

In the evening, while both of us were seated over a meal. I brought the conversation up again; “So tell me, why did you decide to quit this suddenly and why don’t I know about it until this morning?” He said sarcastically, “Sorry, I didn’t know I have to ask permission from you before I quit my own job—a job I’ve given my all to and still get treated like a second-hand citizen.” I ignored the sarcasm and asked, “What really happened before you resigned?” He said, “I had to resign so I resigned. I’m getting a new job by the end of the month.”

Three months later, he was still in the house. No job. And the sad thing was, he wasn’t doing anything at all that suggested he was busy looking for a job. He would stay in the house from morning till evening, watch TV and browse social media all day. In the evening, I had to come back from work, cook something before the two of us can eat. One morning while dressing up to work he said, “Have you thought about what I would eat in the afternoon while you are at work?” I answered him, “There’s always something in the fridge for you to reheat, that shouldn’t be difficult to do.” He shouted angrily, “Maybe you should wake up early in the morning, cook something before going to work. I’m still your husband. I don’t have a job doesn’t mean you can treat me anyhow.”

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I was already getting late and wasn’t in the mood for an argument.

A whole year later, my husband was still in the house without a job. I was paying all the utilities and also feeding him on top. I didn’t have much problem with that. For a jobless man like he was, he had a lot of time on his hands to help around the house. He didn’t do anything. On weekends, I would wash, clean the house, cook for him and in the night, he’ll still expect me to avail myself for his sexual desires. Jobless men are strong in bed, it’s true. On a night, if I don’t fight him, he would like to go three rounds before dawn. And what annoys me most was his constant request for me to moan even when I wasn’t enjoying it. “You don’t make me feel like I’m doing something to you. Or you’re getting it from somewhere that’s why you’re not responding to mine?” I would calmly say, “Hurry up and get down. One of us has to wake up early and go to work, and that’s me. I need some sleep.”

We had been married for two years and still no child. He started showing concern and asking if we had to see the doctor. I told him, “God gives children and at the right time and in the right moment, he’ll manifest himself.” He didn’t know my little secret. A year ago when I realized he wasn’t getting a job, I put myself on a family planning to avoid having kids that I would be the sole provider for.

Then he started asking for money from me. Actually, he started demanding that I gave him a monthly allowance until he got a new job. I told him, “Dear, I pay for everything in this house including food and sometimes your new clothes. I can’t add allowances. Please get a job and get it quickly because I’m almost breaking down under all these responsibilities.” When he realized I wasn’t going to give him the allowance, he started stealing from me. He started picking from my purse long ago but I didn’t realize it until one day, Someone gave me money to be given to a colleague at work. When I got to work, the amount in my purse had reduced by GHC200. Who else could have taken it?

I started counting every pesewa left in my purse before sleeping. The next morning, I would wake up counting less money than I left the night before. I didn’t stop keeping money in there. Sometimes I intentionally left money in my purse so he could ‘steal’ it. I felt it was better than stealing from the outside. He stopped going to church because the church kept asking him to pay his tithe. I wanted my husband by my side on Sundays so I gave him money for collection and started paying his tithe for him so he could continue going to church with me.

A woman gets tired at some point. After four years of marriage, I started getting weary and broken. I’d tried so many things with him just to push him to do something for himself but nothing came out of it. I found him a job through a friend. The salary wasn’t that much but it was enough to keep body and soul together. He went to work for only three weeks and later accused me of sleeping with the man who employed him. He made a mountain out of a molehill and later shunned the job.

Four years later, we have no children. According to him, his parents and family were putting pressure on him to bear children. “I’m a man and I’m incomplete without a child of my own.” I told him, “You’re a man. You’re incomplete without a job of your own. How are we going to cater to our children? How do we pay fees, clothe them and send them to good schools? Do you think I can do that all by my own self?” He responded, “You think I would always remain like this? I said, “I think you’ve intentionally decided to remain like this.”

One morning, A lady I knew from their home town called me. She said, “Are you aware your husband did an out-dooring of a child last weekend?” The first question that came to my head was, “With what money?” I didn’t hurt a bit to know that my husband had fathered a child with a lady from his village. That was when I realized I didn’t care about the marriage again. If it doesn’t hurt you then you probably don’t care about it. When I got home that day, “I told him, “Congratulation. I learned you have a new baby with another woman.” Come and see the shock on his face when I told him that. I continued, “It bothers me not. It rather gives me the indication that you’ve decided your path already. I wish you well but this marriage from today on is over. And let me remind you, you live in a house that I pay for so you’ll be the one to leave.”

Guess his first response…You should be proud that I got someone to do something you haven’t been able to do all these years. You should be asking me to bring the child to you so you raise him. But you’re here running your mouth. Where’s your child? Show me, where is your baby after all these years?”

I didn’t say a word. All my plans were stuck up in my head. He was shocked when a lawyer called him one afternoon explaining the divorce process to him. When I came home, he was all over me trying to beg me to change my mind. He started apologizing for all the things he had done to me and even promised to get a job in a month’s time. I told him, “At this point in your life, all you need is a job. You have a child now. He would need to be cared for. You don’t need me—a barren woman.

He tried to make me stay. He brought other people in to get me to rescind my decision but at that point, nothing could make me stay. I looked at my life for the last four years and couldn’t point to any achievement I could be proud of, yet, I looked broken. Tattered. Tired. Overburdened and overused. I needed my life back—the life where I didn’t need to pull someone’s son along.

I walked away. Today, I have peace of mind and I could smile again. I’m rebuilding. It’s been tough but I was made for tougher things. I’ll survive.

—Abena

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